Amid the recent wave of federal spending on economic stimulus projects and industry specific bailouts, lobbyists are working on behalf of all types of companies, organizations and local governments who want access to some of this funding. According to Sunlight Foundation blogger Bill Allison, around 1,700 new lobbyist registration forms were filed during the first quarter of 2009. The Sunlight Foundation created lists of both private companies and government entities that are newly registered for lobbying in 2009. In our last blog entry, we discussed how to research such lobbying activity - here we will cover how to learn the results of those lobbying efforts. Following are several search methods to determine whether a lobbyist's efforts secured government money for their client.
After reviewing lobbying disclosure forms and learning which firms requested money, you can use FedSpending.org to determine how the government ultimately allotted money. There is a delay in posting the outcomes; but as of right now, spending from government contracts is available through the first quarter of 2008 and government grants through the third quarter of 2007. The results detail what the money was intended for and the yearly trend of funding for the specified firm or organization. FedSpending.org also lets you search government funding by state or congressional district as well as by which government department dispersed the money.
As mentioned in our previous blog post, the government has created a website to track spending of the goverment stimulus money.
Legislative earmarks submitted by lawmakers into recent appropriations bills can be searched several ways. Taxpayers for Common Sense has compiled databases of federal earmarks for 2008 and 2009 and is continually updating their working database for fiscal year 2010 earmarks. The Office of Management and Budget's Earmarks Database allows for online keyword searching through earmarks in fiscal years 2005, 2008 and 2009 (preliminary) appropriations bills. Additionally, starting in January of this year, Congress members are required to post to their websites any earmarks they have requested.